7 Questions to Ask About PPP Automation

Pam Roman

Many industries are experiencing unfortunate spikes in activity due to COVID-19. The economic impact of the virus and the related government stimulus is creating an influx of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications, and bankers and lenders are seeing swamped staffs and nervous customers.

If this is all too familiar to you, you’re probably already looking for help. Your research says automation can do the trick. But you’re unsure what automation means in the context of application processing and what you need specifically to succeed. So, when evaluating any type of PPP automation solution and its provider, make sure to ask these questions:

1) What do your tech terms mean?

Sometimes even the most exacting technical person will interchange terms or lump different items under a big umbrella when describing their solution. Here’s a cheat sheet –

  • Robotic process automation, or RPA, automates mundane, repetitive tasks. Think of manual data entry from a form or system to another form or system.
  • Intelligent automation, or IA, automates specific tasks, activity in a process, and some decisions, like knowing what data to gather from different sources to help solve a problem. It gives your employees the information they need to do their jobs better.
  • Artificial intelligence / machine learning, or AI/ML, is comprised of solutions that can complete complex decision making on its own. AI/ML looks at large amounts of data, makes connections, and generates insights and patterns better than humans can.
  • Hyper-automation or hyperautomation is a relatively new term used for software that automates processes, helps humans, and can include AI/ML. So, kind of that umbrella term.

Automation solutions helping you with your PPP processing would mostly fall under the definition of intelligent automation (and hyperautomation).

2) Is your solution fast?

Just like your internet, different solutions have different speeds. Some solutions might take 10 minutes to process SBA forms and related documents, others may take minutes, or less. When processing hundreds of applications (and assuming equal solution quality), saving even a few minutes per application will really add up.

3) How easy is it to scale?

You’ll probably want to handle your PPP applications and processing with your current staff levels. Scaling workforce for volume fluctuations – up or down – is expensive and time consuming, especially considering that PPP has an expiration date. Can the solution be easily added or removed to scale? For example, if the solution can process one application in four minutes, adding the second solution means two applications processed in four minutes. How many solutions can you easily add to take care of your volume?

4) Will it collect everything I need?

Make sure the solution will aggregate all the information from SBA Form 2483 (Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form) and other supporting documents like IRS Forms.

5) Will it make sure it’s right?

You’ll want a solution that performs data checks for eligibility and verification, cross checks for inconsistencies and alerts you for missing or incomplete data. Otherwise it’s just a set up for rejection.

6) Will it file the forms?

It’s great to have everything put together this far, but it will still be an inefficient pain if the solution doesn’t create or fill in SBA Form 2484 (Lender Application Form) and then integrate with E-Tran, the SBA portal to submit the application. You’ll be right back to manual data entry.

7) Will it comply with the Treasury and SBA submission process?

The U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) have restricted the use of RPA to perform data entry into the E-Tran electronic loan portal. They have permitted the use of their application programming interfaces (APIs) for loan submission. So, make sure the automation solution uses the approved APIs to submit the application.

How can we help?

Prolifics has created Archie – your digital PPP loan officer. With Archie, you can manage loan volumes, ensure data accuracy and speed up the loan process – all leading to higher customer satisfaction. To meet Archie and learn more about how he can help you, email him at solutions@prolifics.com or complete our short form.

Prolifics intelligent automation / hyperautomation can also help you automate insurance claims processing, invoice processing, mortgage applications, accounting and other functions. To learn more, email us at solutions@prolifics.com.